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Step into the virtual changing room, with augmented reality

The virtual changing room is here, letting you try on clothes in high definition using augmented-reality technology. It even asks your friends' advice via the Web

We've all done it: headed to a shop for the perfect shirt or dress and then -- disaster! The shop is shut, the shirt is sold or the dress isn't available in your size. But soon you may not need to spend sleepless nights wondering how sharp that schmutter would have looked on you -- augmented reality could show you straight away. Step into a virtual changing room, and a combination of touchscreen and augmented-reality technology will let you virtually try on clothes -- and even ask your friends what they think via the Web.

The virtual changing room has been developed for free-standing digital LCD pod screens, like those in London enormomall Westfield. You stand in front of the pod's high-definition camera and choose from the clothing options to see them overlaid on your comely frame like a digital-age Mr Benn. CBS Outdoor, the outdoor-advertising arm of CNET UK's parent company, CBS, developed the technology. 


You can take a photo and share the snap on Facebook to get sartorial advice. Sleeves up? Sleeves down? Does this shirt bring out the colour of my eyes? Does my bum look big in these augmented-reality simulacra?


The technology was shown off at a digital-media conference last week, where users got to try on assorted World Cup football shirts, including a patriotic 1966 jersey waving the coveted trophy. Other hi-tech ideas at the show included digital watermarks embedded in posters and billboards that interact with phones, perhaps by directing users to the advertiser's mobile site.